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Sarpanches unhappy with Joint Cheque Power GO

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As per GO, panchayat secretry and sarpanch have to sign on cheques M Manthaiah Adilabad: The recently elected sarpanches of gram panchayats are...

As per GO, panchayat secretry and sarpanch have to sign on cheques

M Manthaiah

Adilabad: The recently elected sarpanches of gram panchayats are unhappy over the latest orders of the state government on cheque power issue. The sarpanches plan to resort to agitation on this issue. A couple of days ago, State Government’s principal secretary V Nagi Reddy, issued orders stating that panchayat secretaries should also sign on cheques along with sarpanches. Henceforth, both sarpanches and panchayat secretaries have to sign on the cheques issued by panchayat offices for the implementation of various schemes and to pay salaries to employees.

The State and Central governments sanction funds to panchayats for the implementation of various schemes. The sarpanches have to draw the funds and utilise them for the development works in panchayat limits.

Earlier, only sarpanches used to sign on cheques issued by panchayat offices. The sarpanches are unhappy with the new rule. ``We are elected representatives of the people in the village. But panchayat secretaries are employees of local bodies. Providing joint cheque powers to sarpanches and panchayat secretaries is an insult to the sarpanches. This shows that government is not reposing confidence in sarpanches,’’ they regret.

There are 866 gram panchayats in the district and 859 sarpanches took charge a couple of weeks ago. However, there are only 195 panchayat secretaries across the district. The state government did not appoint required number of secretaries for many years due to financial constraints. As such, each panchayat secretary takes care of four to five gram panchayats across the district. Due to over burden, the panchayat secretaries may not be in a position to sign on cheques at the time of need. In such cases, local employees and common people find fault with the sarpanches for not issuing cheques in time for their wages or for completed works, the sarpanches express their apprehensions.

But some sections of general public and local leaders maintain that in the past several sarpanches misused the funds sanctioned to the panchayats by the governments. The panchayat offices accounts for 2011 were not yet settled due to irregularities. In order to keep a check on the misuse, the principal secretary issued orders involving panchayat secretaries to sign on cheques.

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